Senate passes SBP Amendment Bill

Senate passes SBP Amendment Bill

Islamabad (Web Desk): The Senate on Friday passed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Amendment Bill 2021 amid opposition’s uproar.

Federal Finance Minister Senator Shaukat Tareen presented the bill.

The upper house passed the bill with the treasury benches enjoying a single vote lead of 43 members over the opposition's 42.

On January 13, the National Assembly passed the SBP autonomy bill along with the supplementary finance bill, both these bills were a requirement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme.

The approval of the SBP amendment bill was necessary to ensure Pakistan’s sixth review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFE) gets cleared by the IMF’s Executive Board which is scheduled to meet on February 2 to decide the disbursement of the $1-billion tranche.

As the session started, opposition benches insisted Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to ask the treasury benches to table the SBP amendment bill, however, due to the absence of Tarin at the time, the bill was not tabled.

Senator Sherry Rehman said the government did not want to table the bill, fearing its rejection.

She said the government had been defeated and demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation.

Later, Tarin presented the bill which was put to vote amid sloganeering from the opposition. The bill was approved shortly afterwards.

On the other hand, 12 members were absent from the session. These included eight members of the Opposition, two of the government and two from independent candidate Dilawar Khan’s group.

As per the reports, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Yousuf Raza Gillani, Qasim Ranjho and Sikandar Mendro did not attend the session.

Among Opposition members, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Shafiq Tareen and Naseema Ehsan did not attend the meeting.

Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Talha Mahmood and Hidayatullah and Hilal-ur-Rehman, two of the six members of the Dilawar Khan group, were absent from the meeting.

Among the government allies, Senator Faisal Sabzwari and Khalida Ateeb of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) were absent from the meeting.

The Senate session was later adjourned till Monday 3pm.